Regrettably, this review is long overdue for this incredible place. I need to set the stage with my story, as it is the reason why Lenny and everyone at Certified Auto are my heroes.
June 18th I was on my way from Chatsworth to Arroyo Seco campground outside of Greenfield with my dog and a PT Cruiser full of gear. Poor Goldie had been getting hot in the previous weeks and despite some repairs, went to red and broke her water right as I pulled off the 101 at Brand in SLO. I explained my situation to 3 shops over the phone, and was told maybe they could look at it by Tuesday. Not helpful. Then I called Certified Auto, explained my situation and Lenny said though they were busy he would fit me in real quick. After I came back from breakfast at a cafe he recommended, Lenny gave me the bad news that Goldie had cracked the head gasket, which as we all know is a death sentence. He was visibly pained to tell me that, knowing my plans for the week and events leading up to this special getaway.
The following things Lenny did are what puts this shop head and torso above anywhere else I've been. He told me that my options were to junk the car in SLO and get a ride home, or he would call his person at Hertz by SLO airport and get me their shop rate him so I could continue my camping expedition (he really likes Arroyo Seco and told me I have to see it, and the girl at Hertz was happy to get another customer from him). So I got a Hyundai Sonata (surprisingly fit all my gear easily), left Lenny the key to Goldie (which he held all week without charge) and went on my way. Before I left, Lenny told me he just bought a 1990 Acura Legend as a shop run around car from a longtime customer and seeing that I was in need of a car, told me he would consider selling it to me. To recap - car breaks down 3 hours from home where I know no one, shop gets me a breakfast spot, quick diagnosis, sympathy, rental car discount, safe spot for Goldie and the opportunity to buy a car that has been cared for at that shop religiously by an 85 year old man.
By Wednesday I feel that all of these things are not coincidence, and that I was meant to have that Acura. Upon my arrival back to the shop on Friday and a test drive in the Acura, I made Lenny a reasonable offer that he accepted. Now since my last 2 vehicles before Goldie were taken from me (hit and run where the truck was scrapped before I could take personal effects, and the second truck consumed in a ball of fire -no one hurt), I wanted to scrap everything I could. I removed my stereo, but the door panels needed a special star shaped torque wrench to get at my Kicker speakers. Anyone who knows a mechanic or tradesman understands that they just don't lend out their tools, let alone strangers. But one of Certified's mechanics Ray allowed me to borrow his whole set! He could have easily told me tough beans, go buy one from the Napa Auto Parts across the street, but I feel he was being cool because of all I'd been through. Before I returned the rental, Lenny let me borrow their shop vac to get the dog hair out of the car rather than paying for the car wash one.
It has been almost 2 months since that happened and I just concluded a final repair to the Acura (which I knew about at the time of purchase). To everyone there I talked with; Lenny, Isaac, Ray and Sam - you guys are so awesome, thank you. If that had happened to me in Studio City, Ventura, Santa Clarita or many other places, I might have been just SOL and on my own to figure things out. Thanks to you guys, best experience possible. I know what happened to me is rare, and these guys knew it too, but with that knowledge this crew went above and way beyond. If I lived 2 hours closer, Certified Auto would be my place to go. Hell, if they were open on Saturday I'd take the 3 hour trip, have lunch at the Libertine, let Lenny give Maggie a Milkbone from the jar on the counter and read a book in the shade by the carwash while Ray does his thing.
If you read this far, awesome. Please give these guys your business, they are wholly deserving of it.
— Yelp User Review